There’s a reason why gel nail polish has become a modern beauty mainstay: it's virtually indestructible, impossibly glossy, and offered at nearly every nail salon. However, the most enticing aspect of a gel mani? Zero risk in chipping your polish the minute you dig through your handbag to check your phone — not to mention, for several weeks to come.


Gel polishes are comprised of stronger ingredients that grasp the nail tighter than traditional lacquers and are strong enough to stand up to daily wear and tear without chipping,” explains Essie Global Lead Educator Rita Remark. A few differences between the formula and your regular lacquer? "Gel polishes are more flexible, so they stand up to chips; gels are cured under a UV or LED lamp and polishes cure in oxygen. Gels have to be removed by soaking in acetone for at least ten minutes, while polishes can be easily wiped away with nail polish remover.”


We spoke with the owner of Nails salon in Cromer (Sheringham Nails Bar) who specializes in nail health, to learn how to get gel manis the safe way.


Ahead, discover 11 tips for making your gel manicure last and keeping your natural nails healthy, plus a roundup of our favorite gel nail polishes.


1. Let your natural nail breathe in between gel manicures.

2. Try not to pick at peeling gel polish.

3. The ingredients in the gel polish matter.

4. Try to limit your exposure to the UV lamp.

5. Think of gel polish as liquid acrylics.

6. Hot baths or showers can cause gel polish to lift.

7. The soaking-off process can be harmful.

8. Give your skin some TLC after the gel manicure is removed.

10. Hydrate your nails.

11. Consider using nail wraps for protection.